... Ought to contain two novels that I've just read.
First up is "Deep State", by Walter Jon Williams, coming soon from Orbit (unless I'm very much mistaken). It's a sequel to 2008's "This is not a Game", a book which made me very glad indeed that I squeezed "Halting State" into print first. During an unfortunate hiatus from major publishing, Dubjay spent a chunk of time slaving in the guts of the game industry, and it shows in these two books. Set about half an hour into the future, "Deep State" continues the misadventures of Dagmar Shaw, gamer and erstwhile founder of Great Big Idea, an Alternate Reality Gaming start-up in Silicon Valley — in an alarming direction hinted at but not explored by the earlier novel. There are powerful ideas stirring beneath the skin of what to a first approximation resembles a taut technothriller, and it's brilliantly executed ... if you're reading my blog because you like "Halting State", you should take this as a recommendation.
Second on the block is "The Quantum Thief" by newcomer Hannu Rajaniemi, due from Gollancz in the UK this September. Full disclosure here: I've known Hannu for some years, and I've been waiting impatiently for this novel ever since I began reading his short stories at the local writer's workshop. He's Finnish, lives in Scotland, has a PhD in string theory, and — well, if you dropped Greg Egan's hard physics chops into a rebooted Finnish version of Al Reynolds with the writing talent of a Ted Chiang you'd begin to get a rough approximation of the scale of his talent. If that's a somewhat recondite metaphor, then alas, recondite is what you're getting: this is deep SF, and if there's any criticism I can level it's that readers may find "The Quantum Thief" hard to interpret without a prior background in the field. However, it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up when I read it, and I think Hannu's going to revolutionize hard SF when he hits his stride. Hard to admit, but I think he's better at this stuff than I am. And "The Quantum Thief" is the best first SF novel I've read in many years.